Thursday, August 18

The apostles' teaching

They were continually devoting themselves 
to the apostles' teaching.

What exactly did the apostles teach?

Undoubtedly it was what they learned from Jesus during the three years they walked with him. And what did Jesus teach? The answer is found in the pages of the four Gospel accounts. Open at random Matthew, Mark, Luke or John to learn firsthand what the apostles were teaching new Jesus followers.

"Teaching them to observe all I commanded you..." was clearly what Jesus expected them to teach. We start with Jesus commands. They are the ABC's of discipleship. When we are obeying what Jesus commanded we are his disciples.

One of the Apostles, John, explained it this way:

It is only when we obey God's laws that we can be quite sure that we really know him. The man who claims to know God but does not obey his laws is not only a liar but lives in self-delusion. In practice, the more a man learns to obey God's laws the more truly and fully does he express his love for him. Obedience is the test of whether we really live "in God" or not. The life of a man who professes to be living in God must bear the stamp of Christ.   I John 2:3-6 [J.B. Phillips trans]

Pretty clear, isn't it? The one who professes to be a Christ follower obeys what Christ said to do.

And what did Jesus command his disciples to do? How do we know if we are really his disciples?

Jesus commanded us to...

1. Love God with heart, soul, strength and mind. [Matt. 22:3-40]

2. Love one another and our neighbors. [John 15:12, Matt. 22:37-40]

3. Make disciples of the nations. [Matthew 28:18-20]

4. Seek first his kingdom. [Matt.6:33]

5. Pray for harvest laborers. [Luke 10:2]

6. Observe the Lord's Supper in remembrance of Him. [1 Cor.11:23-36]

7. Follow Jesus example of servant leadership. [John 13:12-15]

8. Abide in Jesus. [John 15:4]

9. Love our enemies. Do good. Don't judge. Forgive. Don't condemn. [Luke 6:27-37]

10.Freely give to others. [Luke 6:38]

We tend to emphasize a lot of other stuff and only give lip-service to Jesus' list. Our own list of "do's and don'ts" consists of things like: Go to church. Read your Bible. Tithe. Witness to the lost. Don't drink. Don't cuss. Don't ______. All good things for sure, only none are in Jesus own Top Ten list.

I have learned that if we start living what Jesus commanded, all the other stuff starts falling into place.

The apostles taught what Jesus taught. Nothing more, nothing less. Do we know what Jesus taught? Are we obeying those teachings? Knowing what Christ taught is one thing; obeying and living that teaching is quite another. Any new follower of Christ who obeys what Jesus said to do is a disciple. But can one rightly be called a disciple who knows these things but does not really obey?

It is not how much we know of the Gospel, but how much we obey of what we know. Knowledge does not make us disciples. Obedience does.


Arthur Sido said...

Wait, I thought devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching meant they listened to an expository sermon every Sunday?

K. Carlson said...

One of the ways we love God is with our mind. We read the Bible, not because on our "to do list", but rather we need our mind to be saturaded with His Word,in order to erase the junk that gets put in there all day long at work, in front of the TV on on the internet.

One other thought. Before one can be made a disciple, someone needs to witness to that lost individual. So yes, I think these are part of Jesus' list.

I do agree that authentic Christianity is so much more than "doing my devotions", having pefect attendance every Sunday morning and (Sunday night) if applicable)

And yes, I believe that the¨"institutional" church can be transformed into a body of believers that is serious about the things that Jesus taught and expects us to obey as His followers.

J. Guy Muse said...


I like to think of these as the ABC's of the Christian faith. Certainly there are DEF's, but we begin with the ABCs. Too many who claim to be Christ followers may know and talk about the GHIs, but are not living the ABCs.

For me, your second paragraph is covered in the "Go, make disciples" command of Christ. The emphasis is on making disciples rather than witnessing/preaching, but I understand your point.

Thanks for stopping by and for the comments. How are things these days in our beloved city?

Anonymous said...

Excellent! I have traveled throughout Asia and given "conferences" on discipleship discussing the very same things you have written. Each time, the recipients, usually church leaders, say they have never heard any this in other conferences. That is very scary. Thank you for the post. I'm extremely happy and encouraged to hear other people teaching discipleship based on the teachings and commands of Jesus, rather than on the weak programs churches call discipleship. Keep up the Great work!

Marc S
Back to the Master Ministries.

J. Guy Muse said...


Thanks for stopping by. Would love to learn more about your work in Asia. Do you have a blog/website?

Aussie John said...


I'm so glad to see someone connecting the Matthew 28:18-20 with Acts 2:42.

J. Guy Muse said...


There is definitely a connection!

James said...

Excellent post. It is almost too simple to be true though, right? As we have begun discussing this notion in our assembly, and how it relates to our meetings together, discipleship, and continuing in the Apostle's doctrine, this verse from Paul keeps coming up in my mind, 1Ti 6:3-4 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; (4) He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,

J. Guy Muse said...


Great verse from Timothy. Thanks for sharing. Like you say, we take the simple and complicate it beyond recognition!

James said...

I think obedience is the one which shows that you believe God's command. We dont just have to obey in words but in action.